Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan has promised that the 9th National Assembly would give priority to the emergence and entrenchment of credible and acceptable electoral processes that meet best practices and the citizens’ expectations.
Lawan said that Nigeria considers electioneering process very important and declared that stakeholders in election processes had lessons to learn from every poll.
He stated this yesterday in Abuja when he hosted the European Union (EU) Elections Observers Mission in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Keitec Karlsen in his office.
The Senate president applauded the EU Mission for its recommendations on the 2019 general elections, adding that “your visit today is historic as the number one visit to my office after the elections of the presiding officers of the 9th Assembly.
“What can be more important than meeting with elections observers from the European Union? We consider our elections of great importance, we have lessons to learn and we want our elections to be credible and meet best practices.
“The National Assembly has always worked hard on the Electoral Act to ensure that we improve on the standard, your recommendations will fire us to have a better electoral process,” Lawan assured.
He pointed out that wrong timing was responsible for the hitches associated with the last amendment of the Electoral Act, stating that “this time, we will be quick to address all the grey areas and come out with better inputs.”
Lawan used the visit to request for more collaboration with the EU Mission and urged the union to help in building the capacity of members of National Assembly.
According to Lawan, “we need to see an improvement in our electoral system, we solicit for your support to further boost the knowledge of our members and committees relevant to this course.
“We in the 9th Assembly will continue to work in a committed and united manner to offer the best to the electorate. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is one institution that has always been supported by the National Assembly. They also require more support and resources, the resources available are not enough for the enormous tasks. Our desire is that our electoral empire continue to be independent and improve to perform its statutory functions creditably well.” he said.
Earlier, Karlsen congratulated Lawan on his election as the 9th chairman of the National Assembly and promised that the EU would continue to strengthen its collaboration with Nigeria.
Karlsen said that Nigeria is an important partner of the EU, adding that as an old friend and close ally in terms of economy, job creation, migration and other key areas, EU would continue to work with Nigeria.
He said that INEC invited them as monitoring body in the last elections, stressing that as independent observers, EU visited hundreds of polling stations in the country during the polls, affirming that the exercise afforded the observers to see events on self-appraisals.
The EU Mission leader added that 30 recommendations were brought up for electoral reforms and another seven priority recommendations that were comprehensively arrived at.
Karlsen added that the reports were to correct anomalies in elections so that such inadequacies would not be repeated in the future.
He called on National Assembly to engage in an inclusive debate and dialogue in order to arrive at a more promising electoral system.
Army Absolves Personnel Of Allegations
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has exonerated its personnel from allegations of misconduct during “Operation Safe Haven” conduct during the 2019 general elections.
A statement by the acting director, Army Public Relations, Co.l Sagir Musa, said that the committee set up by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, to investigate the allegations of unprofessional conduct by the Nigerian Army personnel during the elections interacted with stakeholders including governors of Bayelsa and Rivers States, among others and has filed its reports
He explained that the committee analysed and reviewed the petitions received against army personnel from stakeholders and found that most of them were “untrue, baseless and unsubstantiated claims.
“It was also found out that the allegations of alleged assassination attempt, soldiers unilaterally imposed curfew, abducted and illegally detained INEC staff and diverted INEC materials to Nembe-Basambiri was misrepresented,” he stated
Musa added that the committee received submissions from some individuals in the state which revealed that painting Nigerian Army as the aggressor during the elections was a deliberate attempt by some individuals to tarnish its image.
However, “the unprofessional conduct of some personnel was still under investigation and appropriate sanctions will be meted on the offenders according to military law, if found guilty,” he stressed
He announced that steps were underway for the gradual administrative redeployment of personnel in 6 Division to douse the observation by some individuals that the troops had overstayed, especially in Abonnema community.
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